Would I be correct to assume you've Googled this question in the hopes of finding a definite answer? I already know I'm right because I've done the exact same thing.
Friends with benefits: the terminally complicated diluted romance of every high school, university, office, and lonely pillow-piled double bed.
Honestly, most people who have been in a friends-with-benefits relationship would probably more than likely tell you that it's a bad idea. Still, it really just depends on the kind of person you are when it comes to sex, love, and friendship to determine whether a friends-with-benefits arrangement is right for you.
Things to know
- If you're not into monogamy and committed relationships, it might be the arrangement for you. Just make sure you manage your expectations.
- While it's often fun and a lot of sexual exploration, just remember that it's not a long-term thing.
- If you find it hard to separate sex from your emotions and keep things casual in a relationship, it might not be for you.
You've really just got to know all the risks and benefits to make an informed choice. So let me break down all the good, bad, ugly, complicated, and fun parts of this arrangement.
Here's what we'll cover:
- Pros Of Friends With Benefits
- Cons of Friends With Benefits
- How To Make Friends With Benefits Work
- Final Thoughts
Pros Of Friends With Benefits
1. It could be the start of a serious relationship
It's really important to manage your expectations when getting into a friends-with-benefits situation with anyone. The common understanding is that it's a casual sexual relationship because one or neither of you is willing to get romantically involved.
But that's not to say romance could never blossom from this; sometimes, a base of friendship mixed with sexual compatibility can be an excellent recipe for a relationship.
You never know - two friends realizing their feelings for one another because they hooked up could be a lovely start to something amazing. Just watch Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake in 'Friends with Benefits' for the soppy rom-com version of this paragraph.
2. You won't be tied down
If you're someone that isn't all that into monogamy and committed relationships, then a friends-with-benefits situation might be just the thing for you.
You get to have some serious fun, no-strings-attached, casual sex with someone on the same page as you while still having the freedom to talk and flirt with other people.
If you're not in a place to form any romantic feelings with anyone or start a real relationship, then a sexual relationship with someone you platonically love and trust could be the best way to get down and dirty without the emotions.
3. Booty calls are almost guaranteed
Gone are the nights of reeling between the sheets, bored of your *cough cough* once favored websites and wishing you could just materialize someone next to you to do the deed with.
You and your affectionately named fuck buddy are now one "U up?" away from making breakfast with the parents real awkward in the morning. No more tinder swiping for casual sex, sore wrists, or hitting up your ex in a moment of horny desperation. What more can you ask for?
4. Sexual exploration
Maybe you want a chance to unleash your deepest, darkest kinks and fantasies in the world of casual sex and find out what you actually like.
Maybe you want to explore sex with girls, guys, or any other gender to figure out what you like. If your friend is up for it, perhaps you feel like trying threesomes, foursomes, and even orgies - or other things that would be off the table for you if you were in a committed relationship.
A friends-with-benefits situation can satisfy all your sexual needs and pose opportunities to explore new experiences - all with someone you know, are attracted to, and trust.
5. It can be a lot of fun
If all you want is a bit of fun, and you're confident you and your potential fuck buddy are on the same page, it can be great to let go of expectations and just have away with it.
Simple, effective, everyone gets to have fun and go home for a good night's sleep. It can even feel a little 'forbidden' and exciting if you keep the arrangement a secret from people. Let's be honest; who doesn't find that appealing?
Cons of Friends With Benefits
1. One of you might develop feelings
This is quite literally the most common outcome of regular sex with a close friend. That seemingly casual fling has all the power in the world to turn one of you into a miserable, heartbroken ball of tears.
The moment one of you wants a romantic relationship (while the other wants to keep things how they are) can cause everything to fall apart. It just isn't going to be the same vibe anymore, and one of you gets hurt.
2. It might damage the friendship
It's easy to get caught up in sexual attraction; it's actually the most natural thing we can do as mammals.
But if you're thinking of starting up a casual relationship with a close friend or, worse, your best friend, you might want to think about how that could change your friendship.
If you replace coffee shop dates, phone calls, and video games with blowjobs, sexting, and booty calls, then it might be tough to one day go back to how things were.
3. You might not get the emotional support you want
This might not apply if you're hooking up with a close friend with whom you already have a good bond. If you're having casual sex with an acquaintance, you might find the physical intimacy - without the emotional support - jarring.
This is probably much more likely if you've only ever had long-term relationships or romantic ones. It can be pretty rough on some people to be that up close and personal with someone but not be able to go beyond that and get the same kind of attention you'd get from an SO.
4. It isn't a long-term contract
It's probably more like a contract that can be terminated at any time. If your fuck buddy decides it's time to move on to a serious relationship with someone else, you're going to get left high and dry.
It's not the kind of situation that has a formal breakup; you'll probably just get a text that says: "Hey, so um, we're gonna need to stop. I met someone and wanna see where it goes, sorry :(" and that'll be that.
Either this is going to absolutely wreck you because you were secretly in love with them the whole time, or just be a massive inconvenience because you've never met anyone else who can do that weird thing with their tongue, and now you can't live without it.
There's no security in the contract of a friends-with-benefits situationship, so it's definitely a risk to consider.
How To Make Friends With Benefits Work
1. Make sure you're on the same page
Have an honest conversation about what you want out of the arrangement. Is it just a string of sexual encounters for the fun of it, or is it a small stepping stone toward romantic love? Always discuss this in the early days of your relationship for everyone's maximum happiness.
2. Lay the ground rules
Are you still going to sleep with other people? Will you stop if one of you develops feelings? Are you comfortable acting 'coupley' without actually being a couple? What about sleepovers vs. hooking up and leaving? There's a lot to agree on before you get into the fun stuff, so don't skip over it.
3. Keep your friendship going
If you're close friends with your fuck buddy, make sure you keep your friendship going outside of the sex.
Do things you would normally do and make time to spend together without any sexual activity. When the arrangement ends, that'll help ensure your friendship doesn't.
4. Don't avoid looking for your true love
If you're still interested in dating and actual romantic relationships, don't stop doing it!
Sex is great, but if this is just a placeholder for you wanting more, then it shouldn't stop you from finding it. An FWB situation probably isn't going to be a long-term candidate for what you're looking for.
Your relationship status doesn't have to stay perpetually single because you're banging the person down the street, but definitely let your FWB know that you're exploring your options for the sake of sexual health and communication.
The key to the entire concept of friends-with-benefits is communication. It's the only way to have good casual sex while still making sure you're respecting each other's feelings.
It doesn't work for everyone; it's hard separating sex from emotions. Some people aren't built for it, and some people naturally have that ability to be more casual about sex and relationships.
Heartbreak is the biggest risk from a friends-with-benefits situation, so much so that even the mere words 'friends with benefits' have become nothing but a cautionary tale for many people. But heartbreak, while horrible, isn't fatal, and sometimes you just need to live your life and make that mistake to really know it was a mistake, you know?
But hey, it may all work out with no one getting hurt or crossing any boundaries. If it works for you, or you think it will, then go do you and enjoy those booty calls!